People in Sutton and Epsom are being urged to take care of themselves after emergency admissions surged at Christmas last year during winter pressures.

The plea comes as doctors and nurses at both boroughs’ hospitals saw as many as 326 attendances from patients on December 25 alone in 2017.

While the festive season is usually a time which is spent among family and friends, accidents can – and do – happen which sometimes require A&E treatment.

Now staff at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals have issued some advice and top tips on how to stay safe.

Joint medical director Dr James Marsh said: “As always, our staff are on hand to care for people who need us and we have put extra steps in place to deal with the number of people who need hospital treatment this festive period, but I would like to strongly urge everyone to take precautions to try prevent any unnecessary visits to A&E.

“We hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas.”

These are the safety top tips:

• Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas and keep other people - especially children - who are not helping with cooking out of the kitchen as hot fat, boiling water and sharp knives can be dangerous.

Wipe up any kitchen spills as soon as they happen, so that people don't slip.

Try to avoid alcohol until you've finished cooking and never leave food cooking unattended.

• Try to keep clutter to a minimum and make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles as falls are quite a common accident around the holidays.

• Place candles on steady, non-flammable surfaces and tea lights inside appropriate containers.

Keep candles away from curtains and other flammable items and out of reach of children and pets.

Never leave an open flame unattended.

• Limit how much you alcohol you drink (drinking more than 14 units per week risks damaging your health), drink more slowly, drink with food and try to alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks.

Alcohol is well known for lowering inhibitions and whilst this helps some people simply feel more relaxed, it can also mean engaging in impulsive and risky behaviour which can result in injuries that could require immediate medical attention.